Historical Reliability Of The Gospel Of Luke

It is written:

“Most Honorable Theophilus: Many others have tried to give a report of the things that happened among us to complete God’s plan. 2  What they have written agrees with what we learned from the people who saw those events from the beginning. They also served God by telling people his message.3  I studied it all carefully from the beginning. Then I decided to write it down for you in an organized way.4  I did this so that you can be sure that what you have been taught is true.” (Luke 1:1-4)

The Gospel of Luke is historically reliable.

How do we know this?

For at least two reasons.

First, Luke was written very early in the first century. One of the evidences of this comes from the recipient of this Gospel. Cooper explains:

“The man was Theophilus Ben Ananus, an erstwhile Sadducee and priest of the Temple. 9 He was the son of Annas and brother-in-law of the High Priest Caiaphas at whose instigation our Lord was tried and crucified. Theophilus was himself to serve as High Priest from the years 37-41, and it is during his time as High Priest that Luke wrote his Gospel and addressed it to him. We know this by the honorific title by which he addresses Theophilus: Most Excellent (Gr. kratistos). The Greek word means ‘noble’, and is used on just one other occasion in the New Testament, namely in Acts 23: 26, when it is applied to the Governor Felix. Tellingly, Luke also addresses his Book of Acts to Theophilus, but when he does so it is simply to Theophilus. The honorific title is no longer used, because when Luke wrote his Book of Acts in AD 64, Theophilus’ service as High Priest was long since past. And that is how we are able to date Luke’s Gospel to having been written at some time within the period of AD 37-41. At any other time, Luke would have addressed his friend merely as Theophilus.”. (Bill Cooper, The Authenticity Of The New Testament Part One: The Gospels, 1763-1774 (Kindle Edition))

Luke wrote His Gospel during the Eyewitness period, when there were still many witnesses of Jesus living. If Luke has been guilty of “fudging the facts” about Jesus of Nazareth, he would have immediately been called out as a liar by the still existing eyewitnesses. Christianity would have died in its infancy!

Second, many skeptics of Christianity have been converted by coming to realize the accuracy of the Gospel of Luke. For example:

“First, let me share with you the story of Sir William M. Ramsay (1851-1939), famed as the once-skeptical New Testament scholar and archaeologist who became a staunch believer in the historical accuracy of the New Testament. He was educated in Scotland (University of Aberdeen) erdeen) and England (Oxford University), during which time he became enamored with the extremely critical scholarship of the F. C. Baur school of Tubingen, Germany. As a result of this, in 1890, he embarked on a journey through the biblical lands in order to confirm the historical errors rors of the New Testament writers. To his great surprise, he found that, at point after point, archeological data and sound historical scholarship confirmed the accuracy of the New Testament authors, and he wrote several important volumes that are still used to this day.95 Subsequent scholarship over the last century has brought further confirmation to Ramsay’s writings.” (Michael Brown, Answering Jewish Objections To Jesus: Volume Four-New Testament Objections, 41 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books)

Thanks to the historical accuracy of the Bible, we can also have full confidence that the Christian faith is true.

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